“In a declassified intelligence report, Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections, released Jan 6th, provided the outline for the current status of the U.S. intelligence agencies conclusions pertaining Russian interference during the 2016 presidential elections, “We assess with high confidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign aimed at the US presidential election, the consistent goals of which were to undermine faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.”
The declassification of this report was proceeded by accusations that Trump administration officials conspired with the Russian government to undermine the Clinton campaign.
On Feb. 13, President Trump’s nominated National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn submitted his letter of resignation, it reads; “I inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador.”
Compounding the significance of this oversight, Flynn was the focus of a Congressional memo addressed to Secretary of Defense James Mattis which reads, “We are writing to request that the Department of Defense conduct a review of a potentially serious violation of the Emoluments Clause by retired General Michael Flynn.”
The violation occurred while Flynn received payments from RT, Russia’s state run media outlet, an action prohibited by the Emoluments Clause. RT is referenced predominantly within the aforementioned intelligent report, “RT America TV, a Kremlin-financed channel operated from within the United States, has substantially expanded its repertoire of programming that highlights criticism of alleged US shortcomings in democracy and civil liberties.”
Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was accused by The Associated Press in an exclusive article claiming that in 2006 Manafort signed a $10 million dollar annual contract with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, according to, “interviews with several people familiar with payments to Manafort and business records obtained by the AP.”
The Associated Press details the contents of a memo allegedly written in 2005 by Manafort in which he writes, “WE are now of the belief that this model can greatly benefit the Putin Government if employed at the correct levels with the appropriate commitment to success.”
The sources remain anonymous and the business records and memos remain undisclosed. These allegations have elicited responses from both Manafort and Deripaska, the latter taking out ads in numerous major U.S newspapers rebuking the accusations, “I want to resolutely deny this malicious assertion and lie. I have never made any commitments or contracts with the obligation or purpose to covertly promote or advance “Putin’s Government” interests anywhere in the world…I am ready to take part in any hearing conducted in the US congress on the subject in order to defend my reputation and name.”
An investigation has since been underway by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The purpose of these hearing, as stated by acting chairman Congressional Representative Devin Nunes, is to reveal three primary questions, “What actions did Russia undertake against the United States during the 2016 election campaign, and did anyone from a political campaign conspire in these activities? Were the communications of officials or associates of any campaign subject to any kind of improper surveillance? Who has leaked classified information?”
Ranking Democrat, Congressional Representative Adam Schiff commented the following during his opening statement, summarizing the sum total of the circumstances that have culminated in the necessity for the hearings.
“Now, is it possible that the removal of the Ukraine provision from the GOP platform was a coincidence? Is it a coincidence that Jeff Sessions failed to tell the Senate about his meetings with the Russian Ambassador, not only at the convention, but a more private meeting in his office and at a time when the U.S. election was under attack by the Russians? Is it a coincidence that Michael Flynn would lie about a conversation he had with the same Russian Ambassador Kislyak about the most pressing issue facing both countries at the time they spoke – the U.S. imposition of sanctions over Russian hacking of our election designed to help Donald Trump? Is it a coincidence that the Russian gas company Rosneft sold a 19 percent share after former British Intelligence Officer Steele was told by Russian sources that Carter Page was offered fees on a deal of just that size?”
The public hearings featured testimonies from National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers and FBI Director James Comey. During the course of the hearings Director Comey confirmed the presence of an active investigation into the possibility of coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia’s attempts to influence the election.
“I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. And that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign.”
Due to the nature of the FBI’s investigatory procedures any evidence collected, or lack thereof, could not be articulated.
Regarding the sum of all parts surrounding the accusations Professor Lake observed, “where there is smoke, you can count on finding fire.” Conversely, Professor Studebaker expressed weariness to the “theater” that may overwhelm the public hearings. Warning that the “cloud of spectacle” may result in the general public perception that accusations equate to guilt.
Email Kyle Welling at firstname.lastname@example.org